Mount Abora Self-Titled Debut Full Length Album - REVIEW + LISTEN

Written by: Kurtis Bradimore

Photo Credit: Evan Jacob | Brenden Badham(vocals) Oliver Honsberger(guitar) Carl Pike (guitar) Trevor Walker (bass) Isaac Nicoletto (drums)

Mount Abora is a Progressive/Melodic metal quintet from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, that has been blending elements of progressive/psychedelic rock, metalcore, jazz, and hardcore together to create a unique, melodic, and chaotic sound that's been captivating audiences in the GTA for years.

After seeing these guys live a handful of times, and listening to their EP, 'A Waning Moon Was Haunted', I was very excited to review their first full-length album.

"Plague Mind" starts the album off with a bang - the track begins with a grungy guitar callback, accompanied by raspy, punkish vocals. The beat drops into a sporadic verse, which transitions into a djent callback reminiscent of Meshuggah. Midway through the track, it takes a sudden turn, progressing into a crushing breakdown.

Lyrics like "Is this world dying, or am I just fading?" are actively enhanced by Brenden's unique vocal style, similar to bands like Sworn In and Perspectives. The track concludes with an energetic groove, ending on a single note rung out, conclusively transitioning into the next track.

"Astral Vacation" As the name suggests, this song is quite a trip! Heavy, progressive, with a nice touch of beauty, this song has it all. The intro wastes no time, jumping straight into an aggressive, almost polyrhythmic beat. Fast paced drums and riffs leave a lot of rhythmic breathing room. The track finishes with a sudden break into a clean section. Ambient guitars, coupled with fast double bass and distant vocals creates a powerfully ethereal atmosphere.

"Artificial Faith" The third track kicks off with an intense tapping bit that progresses into fierce galloping chugs. Various guitar sweeps and leads keep this song full of excitement. The bass in this song is largely predominant and features a unique guitar/bass callback midway through. The track concludes with a violent breakdown full of deep chugs and chaos chords, which is quickly contrasted by a bright and dreamy instrumental that made me feel like I was in a nightmarish carnival.

"Interlude" Disclaimer: I LOVE when bands do interludes. The track begins slow, with melancholy guitar leads and light accentuating symbol hits to build the atmosphere. Once the vocals kick in, it became clear this was going to be a powerful addition to the album. Lyrics such as "Lie to me like I lie to myself" and "the grip is always around my neck, but I can't tell that it's my own hands" are spoken so emotionally that I got chills hearing them. The angst expressed in the vocals and the overall emotion portrayed through this song is immensely powerful, and personally, very relatable.

"Carrying Constellations" This one is insane from start to finish. The intro begins with wild chords paired with eclectic drum fills and harsh, darkened vocals, building up into a series of grooves and instrumental breaks. Sporadic tempo changes and multiple time signatures cause this to be one of the most rhythmically complex songs on the album. The song concludes with a sluggish, eerie instrumental.

"Reality Slip!" The track is peaceful and serene in its delivery, with delayed guitars and distant vocals, gradually building towards an explosion of thrashing chugs, much like the ones on "Artificial Faith." The midsection of this song features a sudden, lively beat change.

Funky guitar riffs coupled with the cheerful drums caused me to involuntarily imitate the "Night at the Roxbury" head bob as though I were listening to Haddaway. The chorus in this song introduces the first presence of clean vocals on the record, which greatly enhance the overall mood of the track.

"Earth Walker" commences with aggressive vocals and guitar riffs. The occasional use of dead notes help to emphasize the chaos within the opening riff, which descends into a brutal breakdown, accompanied by malevolent sweeps. The midsection of this song features a soothing break, with clean guitar tones and powerful vocal lines.

Lyrics such as "Sleepwalker, you've strayed too far" and "Lonely drifter, this isn't your world" are very predominately placed in the chorus, as I feel they were meant to summarize the song as a whole. The song concludes with a repetition of the opening riff, transcending into a unique, emotional break, building anticipation for the next track.

"Hollow Ground" Dark and mysterious, this track was an adventure! The track is introduced with long, drawn out chugs. Countering this, however, is a bleak - yet somehow uplifting - guitar lead which doubles as an outro to the track. The chorus of this song is particularly unique in comparison to the rest of the album, due to its serene melodies and the presence of powerful and clean vocals.

"The Power Within" Immediately beginning with an energetic two-step beat, this song doesn't waste a single moment. Several guitar hooks and accompanying leads make this an easy song to get addicted to. The early midsection of this song takes a sudden, destructive turn with an unexpected breakdown, ultimately transitioning back into the two-step that began the track. The entire song is fairly consistent in its speed and intensity, making this an ideal song to start any live performance off with. Personally, this was my favourite track on the album.

"Soul Scape" The penultimate track of the album is soulfully chaotic. I found this song particularly interesting due to its duality within the rhythms. The melodies of the vocals during the verses seem to follow a separate pattern than the instrumentals, creating an intensity in the total sound. This unique structure assisted in amplifying the upbeat groove midway through. The guitar lead featured during the chorus is extremely catchy and I found it stuck in my head multiple times, long after listening to it. The track concludes with a light, ethereal instrumental, before quickly transitioning into a chaotic, angry conclusion.

"Essence Fervor" Running at 6:54, the final track is also the longest on the album. This track opens very heavily, with fast, infectious riffs and progressive drum beats. The song builds with incredible emotion, anger coursing through every note. The midsection of this track is brutal, with a transition from crushing djent riffs to a long, drawn out section full of chugs and sporadic guitar solos. The song finishes off with an unexpected break: a dreamy guitar lead accompanied by long and wailing screams, before unwinding into a calming and melodic breakdown to end the album.

Overall, I found this album to be incredibly enjoyable. The combination of various genres and the serious, yet abstract overtones they portray leaves me excited to see what they have lined up next. This band is something that any fan of progressive metal should check out.

You can keep up with Mount Abora's activities through their various social media accounts listed below and listen to their debut album below or on any of the following streaming platforms. Youtube, Spotify, Apple, Bandcamp

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Images from the Mount Abora Release show HERE by Kara Bradimore .

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